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20 September 2023

Gotion begins EV battery production in Germany

Gotion High Tech has begun production at its first overseas plant, in Goettingen, Germany, to tap into the region’s fast growing EV industry. 

The highly automated company, China’s fourth largest EV battery manufacturer, said it had launched the first phase of operations as part of a staged production ramp up over the next few years.  

Gotion Global VP Ray Chen said: “Our production line has an overall automation level of nearly 70% and close to 80% in the module assembly stage.” 

Annual production capacity is expected to reach 5GWh by mid-2024, rising to 20GWh when all investments were completed later in the decade. 

The plant, acquired from Bosch in 2021, will produce battery packs for EVs and also for stationary energy storage systems (ESS). 

Gotion, which specialises in lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries, said it had received “a large number of orders” ahead of the productio start, putting it on course to achieve its global ambitions. 

Volkswagen is Gotion’s largest shareholder with a 26.5% stake at the end of 2021. It was also expected to be the main customer with battery deliveries scheduled to start in October. 

The Hefei-based company also has partnerships with BASF, ABB, Ebusco, Ficosa and Idneo in Europe, covering battery materials, manufacturing and product development, plus the supply of cell and battery pack supply. 

The company recently announced plans to build two more plants in Illinois and Michigan while, earlier this year, it was reported to have signed a letter of intent with the Moroccan government to build a large battery cell plant. 

The company is aiming for global capacity for 300 GWh annually within a few years.

19 June 2023

Chinese OEM claims EV build time within two hours

Chinese automaker Guizhou Changjiang Automobile Co., Ltd has claimed the use of ‘intelligent technology’ has enabled it to assemble its EVs in under two hours. 

The company says the entire process of making a new energy vehicle (EV), from plugging wire harness, installing chassis, to alignment and testing, takes less than two hours. 

Based in Gui’an New District, the automaker’s site is designed to produce 210,000 EVs annually. It has four production lines and has made its first delivery of electric light trucks. 

Chairwoman Zhou Hong said that the company’s intelligent production system and IoT-based production facilities allow it to produce multiple vehicle types.

“We use IT-based management systems such as PDM and ERP. In addition, we have a powertrain lab, chassis dynamometer lab, battery pack/module charging/discharging lab, and more labs for independent whole vehicles. 

“We also apply intelligent manufacturing technologies to the production lines, such as robotics, IoT, cloud computing, and intelligent testing equipment.” 

Chery, BYD and CATL are expected to join Gui’an New District’s “new energy vehicle industry cluster”.

6 September 2023

Comau retools Fiat Brazil body line

Comau has designed and deployed automated body in white equipment at the Stellantis plant in Betim, Minas Gerais, Brazil as part of a comprehensive retooling project to produce both the Fiat Pulse, the brand’s first SUV in Brazil and the Fastback, its first SUV Coupe and one of the company’s main launches.

Comau provided high speed body assembly systems for the main body, the body sides and re-spot operations so two distinctly different SUVs could be produced on the same line.

The company integrated 74 automatic and 10 manual stations with vision systems digital applications and turn key equipment. The equipment focuses on the geometry precision and welding accuracy of the underbody and sides.

Comau also used virtual commissioning and process simulation to optimise the design and retooling of the complex welding lines, allowing functionality testing before onsite commissioning. By doing so, it was able to anticipate eventual issues in robot sequencing and communication between robots and PLC.

By creating a comprehensive view of the plant in a virtual environment, engineers were able to identify improvement points, enhance processes monitoring and make better use of legacy plant equipment, essential aspects for an effective design to cost approach.

Industry 4.0 uses IO-Link technology to help monitor the water and compressed air feeding which lets the system provide real time data analysis and detect eventual issues in a fast and highly effective way. It also allows remote configuration and monitoring.

The integration of PLC software optimises maintenance and ability to conduct robot backup activities via the corporate network helps increase long term reliability. The line was designed to minimise tool changes, reducing commissioning time and line interventions.